Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Michael E. Colvin

Committee Member

J. Brian Davis

Committee Member

Leandro E. Miranda

Date of Degree


Original embargo terms


Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access


Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture

Degree Name

Master of Science


College of Forest Resources


Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture


Water resources for Bluff Lake in Mississippi are managed to achieve objectives related to waterfowl, waterbirds, fish, anglers, and Paddlefish (Polyodon spathula). Annually, the reservoir undergoes a nine-stage seasonal drawdown and re-inundation to improve waterfowl habitat. In addition, weekly discharges are released from the water control structure to encourage Paddlefish spawning and migration each spring. However, additional discharges throughout the year may provide additional passage opportunities. In this study, multiple discharge states were evaluated to identify optimal water releases during each drawdown period given reservoir objectives. First, I developed a hydrodynamic model to predict daily changes in lake volume. Second, I defined functional relationships between water surface elevation and management objectives. A structured decision-making framework was then applied to determine the optimum additional discharge strategy. This approach allowed trade-offs between management objectives to be evaluated and optimal water releases to be identified for this multiuse reservoir.


U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service